Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Second Sunday in Lent - 17 March 2019

Dear Friends,

Reading: Saint Luke 9, v28b-31

"While Peter was still talking, a cloud came, which covered them. They were frightened when they ended up in the cloud.  From inside the cloud a voice was sounding: This is my beloved Son: listen to Him. When the voice sounded , it appeared that Jesus was alone."

Sometimes we see someone turning red from shame, or turning white of anger, it can also happen that someone shows us a glowing face. If we can see that, then we can assume that something really wonderful has happened to that person. Something that touched him or her deep inside and is reflected on the face and on the person as a whole. Pious legends tell us about Holy people who appeared with a halo and about mystic persons, who could pray so intensely  that the power went right through their bodies and lifted them from the ground.

According to the Holy Gospels, three privileged followers of Jesus could establish also such particular happening with Him. According to Saint Luke, He had taken them up on to the mountain in order to pray. And whilst He was praying and they had fallen asleep the moment of the Transfiguration was at hand and it was the disciples turn to witness. When they woke up they saw His glorified appearance. 
Anyone who knows the Holy Bible well, will think about the story in the book of Exodus about Moses, who on the mount Sinai in the cloud, heard Jawhe speak to him. When he descended the mountain, there was this wonderful glow on his face, of which he did not know anything himself. The Israelites saw his face shine and did not dare to approach him. ( Exodus 34, v 29-30)

Also over Jesus and the three apostles a cloud appeared according to the Holy Gospel or really thee cloud. It was this cloud, which in Biblical pictorial language was the shrouded presence of God. The voice from the cloud - God's voice, revealed to Jesus's companions to what His real identity was. Jesus was fully aware of His own identity when He was baptized in the river Jordan.

It is remarkable that the three witnesses told nobody about their experiences. You would have thought that spontaneously they would have trumpeted the news out and about. But they kept silence about all this for a long time.  Was this because they could not believe their own eyes? Or did they feel that with this story they would be the laughing stock of everyone? We can assume that only until after Easter they finally talked about all this. Because in the Light of Easter they finally understood the full meaning of their experiences on the mount Tabor. In a sense the story in the Holy Gospel of today can be understood in the same manner as the stories of the appearance of the Glorified Christ after He had died as a man. The evangelists have written everything down to imprint into their readers how they should see Jesus and listen to His words: like the chosen son of God, Who by his passion and death shares the Glory of His Father.

In the Eucharist, the central point is that the Glorified Christ is present, through the power of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us as His Priests. But it is Holy Faith without seeing. Only the Host and the Wine are visible elements.

How strong then is our faith? My faith should really be so strong that if someone who sees me coming out of church says spontaneously " you are glowing", not to make me a compliment, but because it is noticeable . I would answer:" Yes that is how I feel. The joy of celebrating our Holy Faith together must stream from my face".

The faithful with glowing faces! Shining because of the joy which they experience  when they meet together to pray and celebrate. We can be sure that faithful brothers and sisters with shining faces can leave an impression with others.  Is this not a wonderful prayer intention, that we may succeed by means of our shiny face to bring our Holy Faith alive?


Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston, Tasmania

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